Bento Blog

Expense Management Tips

Managing expenses effectively is key to the success of any business, no matter how large or small it may be. Expense management is far too often elusive, though, as costs can change unexpectedly and additional variable factors come into play.

Regardless, business owners, CFOs, management teams, company financial departments, budget administrators, entrepreneurs, and even the savviest financial experts can learn a number of spend management tips to weather whatever changes come their way.

Expense management becomes far easier to master with the right software tools on hand. Spending and expense management tools like Bento For Business help business owners and managers gain better control of business expenses, enabling them to rein in spending. Bento offers solutions for all these groups:

  • CEOs and CFOs
  • Accountants and Controllers
  • Budget Administrators
  • Employees
  • And More

Today’s article provides expense management tips any business can benefit from. We also go over how Bento as a spend management platform can help you put into place better spending practices so you can cut expenses and increase profit. It begins with a better tracking methodology.

While there are fixed costs that you may not be able to change, you can gain more control of variable costs when you have a better idea of what they are. Bento can help you track your expenses, set limits, and administer funds in a much smarter way.

Our tips will help you whether or not you have Bento or a similar expense management software, but having this software will ultimately help you get better organized and simplify the whole spend management process so you can save more money for your company. Let’s get started.

Track, Manage, And Control Employee Expenses

You most likely have a good picture of your expenses related to payroll and employee benefits. Even with new employees being hired, current employees leaving, and payroll changes due to promotions, raises, department transfers, and bonuses, these numbers are known, so it’s easy to factor them in when you’re doing expense management work.

But what about expenses related to travel, entertainment, and incidentals? If you’re not managing them effectively, these controllable expenses can easily get out of control!

To avoid unpleasant surprises and avoid runaway travel and incidental expenses, you need a way to track and manage these accurately. Too often employees, particularly those in sales ormore executive positions, have not been given enough solid guidance on how much they can spend, what the limits are, and what they can do to cut costs.

But there are much smarter ways to control these expenses than to provide guidelines, go by the honor system, wait for expense reports, and offer reimbursements.

When you use Bento for automated expense management functions, you can better control and reduce expenses associated with providing staff members with the means to cover travel, lodging, food, and miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses.

Bento solutions for employees empower them and your company by automating the spend management process. Instead of tedious, time-consuming, and often inaccurate expense reports and reimbursement procedures, Bento lets you control expenses even before they’re incurred.

Using Bento, you won’t have to deal with the typical issues associated with employee expense reports. The software enables you and your employees to use best practices in expense management for the following results:

  • A streamlined process for you and your employees
  • No need to manually create or track expense documents
  • No chance of employees padding or exaggerating expenses they incurred
  • Mistakes are avoided, saving employees, managers, and financial staff time and eliminating the need to compensate at a future date for these errors
  • Employees don’t have to spend out of their own pockets or wait forever for reimbursements
  • You have complete control over the amount they can spend

These benefits are possible because Bento employs an innovative system of covering miscellaneous expenses employees may incur. Instead of your employees paying out of pocket, filing expense reports, and waiting to be reimbursed, you give your employees a pre-paid Bento card with a fixed amount they can spend. It’s one of the best ways to operate spend management such that the company and the employees benefit from the system.

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Implement And Enforce An Expense Policy

A big mistake many companies make is failing to implement a clear expense policy. In these cases, employees may overspend and then feel disgruntled when they’re not fully reimbursed. Or they may not know how much they can spend and end up under-spending and having a miserable time on their business trip. Implementing and enforcing a transparent expense policy can be challenging, with miscommunications and misinterpretations often happening.

To avoid this, Bento’s system of providing employees with pre-paid expense cards eliminates any possible gray areas.

You can give your employees Bento cards for greater operational efficiency. Expense management becomes straightforward. When you issue a card, it’s pre-approved for use in specific cases, so you don’t have to worry about an employee misunderstanding which expenses are or are not covered.

Bento cards do give you flexibility, particularly since some employees need more freedom to spend while others are fine with a fixed amount added to the card. These cards work great in a wide range of scenarios. These are just some examples of how you can use them for better expense management solutions:

  • Issue your field employees a Bento Fixed Value per diem card to give them freedom to spend as needed while staying within your specified budget
  • Automatically control how these cards are used, including how much can be spent per day and which days the card can be used
  • If an emergency need arises in real-time, you can restrict or enable use, as needed
  • Bento debit cards can be assigned to remote workers who periodically need to purchase software, equipment, or office supplies you used to provide when they worked on-location
  • Use Bento’s spend management platform to create custom solutions for your contractors’ company-covered expenses; these cards can easily be disabled when the contract ends

The beauty of issuing Bento cards to your employees is that there’s no room for expense errors. What they can spend is strictly controlled by you. This way, your employees can’t break expense policies and overcharge. Bento cards put employee spend management back in your control.

Make It Easier For Employees To Report Their Expenses

When you bring more operational efficiency into the picture, it makes it a lot easier for employees to report their expenses accurately, which means fewer errors will be made. Errors are costly all the way around. They lead to extra time spent to resolve issues, wasting time and money. When employees have an automated way of reporting their expenses, waste is eliminated.

One of the great things about using the Bento expense management platform is that your employees don’t need to get approval, submit lengthy expense reports, or claim reimbursements. This saves a whole lot of time right there.

All that employees have to do is use the expense cards you issue, and upload receipts through the mobile app, both of which are very easy to do with this platform. It’s a much easier andefficient way for employees to report expenses, and the platform automatically tracks everything so there’s little room for error.

Hold Everyone Accountable

Because every transaction is tracked automatically, you can easily generate expense reports directly from the Bento platform, reflecting how much was spent, where, and when by each employee. This gives you a convenient way to create reports for accounting purposes.

It also gives you a way to easily hold employees accountable. Those who are spending too much too quickly can be flagged and communicated with to be made aware that they need to curb their spending.

The Bento platform becomes the expense reports generator and expense management enforcer for you, freeing up your valuable time to take care of other important business matters.

Automate The Entire Expense Management Process

By now, you probably have a good picture of how automation can work for you, your company, your employees, your field workers, your contractors, and you.

Here are specific ways the automation brought to you by the Bento platform can streamline and vastly improve your expense management process:

  • Provide you with full control of how much each employee can spend to ensure nobody goes over your company’s budget
  • Offers complete accounting integration to automatically track expenses and create expense reports that your accounting team and other departments need
  • Presents an easy way to capture receipts instantly through a mobile app your employees can access
  • Streamlines the whole expense management time frame by getting rid of the need for expense approvals, manual reports, and reimbursements
  • Saves you money by saving time and avoiding the paperwork wasted in traditional expense management processes
  • Eliminates potentially costly errors and misunderstandings
  • Holds employees accountable
  • Limits expenditures and prevents unexpected losses

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Streamline Your Accounting Operations

When the accounting operations are streamlined with the help of a powerful spend management platform like Bento, youraccountants and controllers can do their jobs more efficiently and catch potentially catastrophic errors immediately so that your company can correct the problem swiftly.

Without automation, regular audits would have to be performed periodically to uncover potential fraud, locate areas where expenses are out of control and find and fix accounting errors before the company finds itself in trouble.

Such audits are time-consuming, costly, tedious, and frustrating when they’re conducted the traditional way.

However, with automation, audits become fast and easy. Much of the time, they’re even completely unnecessary, because the platform can flag something that’s out of the ordinary and notify your accounting team right away.

Traditional audits are slow and inefficient. By the time they uncover a problem, the actual event happened long ago, and amending the situation can be challenging to do.

With the automation that Bento provides, problems can be uncovered within hours of the offending event taking place. Remedial action can be taken right away, saving you from potentially costly outcomes.

In short, an automated expense management platform limits spending, provides ready access to expense reports any time, updates reports automatically, flags issues immediately and greatly simplifies the entire accounting process for fewer errors and more robust accounting practices.

Close Your Books In A Timely Manner

As the famous refrain goes, “Time is money.” If you can’t close your books in a timely manner, you lose money.

It can take a great deal of time to chase after expense receipts and manually create reports. An automated system like Bento keeps track of receipts for you and can generate reports automatically any time you need them.

So when the time comes to pull together all your expense numbers at the end of a month or quarter, you will have all the information you need available at your fingertips, which means you can close your books faster and use your time for higher-value work.

Manage Your Cash Flow Better

Effective expense management is about knowing how to manage your cash flow. Bento provides you with greater control and better visibility to enable vast improvements in your ability to administer how much and when cash flows out of your company.

Giving the people at your company corporate debit cards for their expenses means you control their expenditures and enforce spending policies automatically by the controls you build into these cards.

These debit card transactions are automatically recorded, tracked, and synced to the general ledger to keep your accounting books up to date easily. You can get accurate accounting reports instantly any time you need them – no need to wait until the end of a quarter to see your company’s true financial picture.

With real-time visibility, Bento For Business lets you manage cash flow better, enabling you to take corrective measures right away instead to avoid big losses.

Strategize For More Predictable Outcomes

In the old way of doing things, business expenses could be very unpredictable. Until you received and tallied all the expense reports, you really don’t know what the financial outcome that month or that quarter would be for your company, so budgeting was a big challenge.

Now, with the automated way of handling expense management, it has become much easier to predict financial outcomes. This means you can put greater effort into strategizing effective spend management solutions instead of waiting for employees to turn in expense reports before you get a clear view of the company’s true financial picture.

Automation empowers you to develop an expense budget and stick to it, thus turning variable costs into more fixed ones that will never go above a specified amount. More predictable outcomes will give you peace of mind and provide your company with stronger financials.

Benefit From Accurate Budget Planning And Expense Reporting

With any project or business venture, the closer you can stick to your budget, the better off you’ll be. If the money runs out before a project is finished, progress comes to a sudden halt until additional funds can be raised. Likewise with a business. If expenses end up way over budget, drastic measures might have to be taken to protect the business and keep it from going under.

Accurate budget planning helps a business keep running smoothly. With a platform that provides ready access to real-time expense reporting, it becomes so much easier to create a doable budget and stick to it.Budget administrators have the information they need to successfully tackle expense management and come out winning.

Using Bento for spend management solutions, budget administrators can:

  • Ensure company funds are being used strategically
  • Set controls on employee spending, and modify them as needed
  • Access real-time expense-related analytics any time to accurately gauge the financial strength of the company at any point
  • Control cash accounts and simplify receipt capture
  • Get vital data that lets you make strategic business decisions instead of getting bogged down by paperwork

Real-time reporting makes all the difference for expense management processes. Budget planners can do their job accurately by having ready access to spending information that’s up to date. There’s no need to wait for interim financial reports when Bento keeps track of expenses on the go.

Empower CEOs And CFOs With Expense Management Tools

Far too often, company CEOs and CFOs depend on the people around them to provide accurate expense reports so that they can make important decisions that affect the company.

If a CEO or CFO doesn’t get reliable expense information on time, it can be difficult to make strategic decisions that will move the company in the right direction.

Bento For Business offers expense management solutions thatCEOs and CFOs can greatly benefit from. With real-time reporting reflecting the true state of the company’s expense, spending, and cash flow situation, informed decisions can be made to put the business in a position of strength, not weakness.

Officers can run their organization better when they’re fully aware of the expense trends and current cash flow status of the company. Since the Bento platform provides an accurate picture of the company’s spending habits, it helps CEOs and CFOs understand how to scale their expense management.

Company leaders can easily see which departments are spending too much or not enough. Managers can be notified immediately to rein in expenses, and budget administrators can be asked to enact specific spend management controls to curb spending right away.

Bento empowers company officers to:

  • Make better decisions thanks to access to accurate, current reporting
  • Take action to make immediate corrections instead of inadvertently letting a problem snowball
  • Access spend management tools to generate a positive return on investment (ROI)
  • Create a healthy spend culture at every level of the business
  • Develop spend policies that are easy to implement and enforce

Provide Flexibility To Speed Up Expense Management Processes

To help transactions process smoothly, a measure of flexibility needs to be built into the spend management system. By giving administrators a wide range of variables to control, Bento provides them with the flexibility to fine-tune and customize each expense card to keep the process flowing without glitches or interruptions.

For example, the availability of multiple payment types enables you to make use of the best source of funds on a case-by-case basis. You can top off a card when needed and pay via credit cards, wire transfer, or ACH. The choice is yours, and this level of flexibility can help your organization select the right funding source at the right time. There’s no need to hold up the expense management process when a range of payment options are available.

Make Sure Your Spend Management Approach Is Adaptable

When you run a business or manage a department within a company, you know that things can change rapidly. Situations arise that require you to adapt quickly. With theBento platform, you can rapidly adapt to any dynamic situations that arise and fine-tune spend management.

If you have to modify the budget and limit expenses temporarily to get over a hurdle, you can do so easily and quickly by using the automated system to change the controls on Bento cards.

Through a highly adaptable expense management approach, you can feel free to move quickly to seize opportunities that come your way or to change course and curb expenses for a time while the company has to pare back. As change is inevitable in business, this measure of adaptability can give you the control you need to modify your approach in response and protect your business along the way.

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Some Final Thoughts

Expense management becomes so much more manageable with the automation and innovation provided by the Bento platform.

Spend management solutions open up at every level. With greater visibility into and control of company spending, a company can operate smoothly and enjoy agreater return on investment.

Bento automation provides real-time expense management insights for a better grasp of the entire spend management process.

The platform’s innovative and robust spend controls mean that runaway expenses are a thing of the past. Company and department heads, as well as budget administrators, can set spending controls on each card allotted to an employee, a contractor, or any member of the company, ensuring that company expenses are pre-approved even before a purchase is made.

With an easy way to upload and track receipts, manual expense reports are a thing of the past, saving time and reducing costs.

With expense policy controls built right into the Bento cards, expense policies become fair, transparent, and enforceable.

Employees do not have to spend their own money out of pocket for miscellaneous expenses and wait forever to be reimbursed. Instead, they have company-provided debit cards they can use at their convenience, with spend management handled for them.

All these reasons and more lead to better spend management solutions you can count on.Learn more about Bento today and discover how this automated software platform can benefit your business.

 

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